Dreamy, man

<!– Link: Yuji Oniki

Mellow. That word is so hippie.

And for all the conotations that word may have, it suits the sound and feel of Yuji Oniki’s Orange just fine.

At times channeling Murmur-era R.E.M. or a Valium-induced Dukes of the Stratosphear, Oniki performs the sort of pop music that’s sugary but isn’t, psychelic but not psyched-out, and dreamy but not sleepy.

If anything, Orange sounds like the distant cousin of another album by a Japanese-American, James Iha’s Let It All Come Down.

Orange is a lush production, sporting chiming guitars, echo-y vocals and an ever-distant trumpet hovering in the background. Oniki possesses sharp songwriting chops, laying simple melodies over not-so-simple chord progressions.

“Tokyo Clover,” which opens the album in English and closes it in Japanese, exemplifies Oniki’s muse — a catchy bass hook grounds a series of surreal guitar chords, while Oniki renders a straight-forward melody over the whole subdued mix.

Mellow indeed.